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AAOP: The Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan Contest, 2015-16

Coming off a World Series appearance, the Mets should contend again in 2016. What moves would you make this winter if you were Sandy Alderson?

Thanks to a long playoff run that ended in a heartbreaking loss in the World Series, the 2015 Mets pushed the offseason—and the Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan Contest—a few weeks later than normal. But we're ready to start this year's AAOP now.

Whether you need a quick refresher or are new to the AAOP, here's the deal: Pretend you're the general manager of the Mets, and work your way through the offseason. Write about it, post it, and you'll have a shot at a prize—unless you won a prize in last year's edition of the contest. If that clause applies to you, you are ineligible to win a prize this year, but you're still invited to participate. For a rundown of last year's finalists, go here.

Here's how it works: All entries must be submitted via FanPost. We will select the five best of the bunch, and we'll present those finalists to the community for a vote. We will periodically bump some of the best plans to the front page.

Please note that if you haven't signed up for a username on the site, you'll need to do so more than 24 hours before the contest ends, as there is a 24-hour waiting period before a new user can post on the site.

The Mets have approximately $94 million committed to 2016 payroll, including estimated raises for their arbitration-eligible players. For the purposes of the AAOP, let's set the maximum Opening Day payroll for 2016 at a generous-for-the-Mets $120 million. The real-life Mets might very well have a budget lower than that, but the team was just in the World Series, so we'll keep the limit a little on the generous side in hopes that the actual Mets allow their front office some financial room to work with this winter.

As for the rules and guidelines, they are as follows.

  1. The title of your FanPost must begin with "AAOP:" (no quotes). You can follow that with whatever title you want, but it must begin with "AAOP:" so we can easily distinguish it from non-contest FanPosts. If you do not follow this rule your entry will be excluded from consideration. It's a very simple rule so try not to screw it up.
  2. The deadline for FanPost submission is 5:00 pm EST on Tuesday, November 17. No exceptions.
  3. There is no mandatory length, but you'll want to be as verbose as is necessary to elucidate the genius of your plan.
  4. Total 2016 payroll can't exceed $120 million, give or take a few bucks. Same goes for 2017 and beyond, so don't try to backload your deals to skirt the 2016 payroll restriction.
  5. Use these contract values for any arbitration-eligible players you wish to re-sign for 2015.
  6. Use spell-check and proofread for grammar, punctuation, and usage errors. If you can't be bothered with making your entry readable then we can't be bothered with actually reading it.
  7. Try to make it look good. Add some images and some tables (feel free to use this grission-y HTML table-maker). MS Paint something. Strong writing, cogency, creativity, and thoughtfulness are of paramount importance, but aesthetics still count. We're not saying that a straight essay can't win, but we are encouraging you to spice it up a bit.
  8. Feasibility of plan execution is important. Don't propose a trade of Jon Niese for Mike Trout. It's not going to happen.
  9. Whether the Mets might realistically execute your plan doesn't matter as long as the plan itself can be considered realistic given the current free agent and trade markets.
  10. Free agent salaries should also be realistic. We're not going to quibble over a million dollars here or there (who would?), so if you want to sign Yoenis Cespedes to a contract and set his average annual salary at $20 million or $22 million it doesn't much matter for the purpose of this exercise.
  11. For 2016 free agents, use this list. For future payroll obligations, use this spreadsheet.

And now the swag:

First place: The New York Times' History of New York's Amazin' Team

Second place: Jesse Orosco bobblehead, courtesy of @TomUrtzJr of @TodaysSlapshot

Third placeDaniel Murphy "Leave Your Mark" t-shirt

The Amazin' Avenue Offseason Plan contest begins now!

All entries are subject to the official rules, found here.